Hanalei Bay – Hawaii’s Best Beach?

We’ve updated our guide to Hawaii’s best beaches where we list our nominations for Hawaii’s 30 best beaches. This year Hanalei Bay gets top honors, beating out Oahu’s Kailua beach. Hanalei Bay actually has much in common with Kailua – it’s in a residential area with no hotels or condos, mountains provide a beautiful backdrop, and both are uncrowded and offer a range of water activities.

There are some other notable changes in our rankings. Waikiki beach, one of Hawaii’s funnest beaches with all sorts of activities, has moved up 6 positions to #13. This is thanks to the downturn in tourism since we heavily penalize Waikiki for overcrowding. Poipu beach park moves up in the rankings thanks to the return of the Tombolo (a sand bar extending out from the shore) and a great effort by residents who cut away brush that was encroaching on the sand. And making an appearance for the first time in our list (suspiciously absent in the past) is Kauai’s wonderful Maha’ulepu beach.

As noted on our list, all the islands have beautiful beaches including the Big Island. Our island beach guides list over 100 great tourist beaches. Below is a short video of Hanalei Bay to give you a taste of what the beach looks like in the summer months when the ocean is calm.